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Vermont Castings Defiant® FlexBurn™ any thoughts?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by tcraigscott, Nov 25, 2012.

  1. tcraigscott

    tcraigscott New Member

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    Hello all,

    been a while since I have been on the forums, but thought I would try to tap some of the knowledge around here.

    I am looking at getting a new woodstove. Was originally considering the Harman TL-300. Like the top load feature and had some friends with them they really liked them. A little pricey here in Canada though ($3000)

    Then I came across this stove

    http://vermontcastings.com/family/Stoves/Convertible/Defiant-FlexBurn/

    Top load converts from Cat to Non sharp looking unit. They also have a model one size down. The encore.

    I haven't been able to find any reviews or user comments on them (or get an idea of pricing for that matter)

    Anyone out there have any experience with these stoves?

    Thanks,

    Craig

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  2. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    A flat black Defiant will run you about $2,800 in my area.

    Pros:
    The new units use a less expensive cat which is about $100 cheaper than the previous design.
    The catalytic assembly is a more durable material which should last longer and is cheaper to replace than the previous design.
    Burn times are 10-14 hours for the most part with owners reporting up to 18 hours. Your home size, insulation, and location will determine where you fall for burn times.

    Cons:
    VC stoves are still more maintenance intensive than most other stoves. The stove uses a lot of gaskets that require upkeep.
    The VC cat system is still behind Blaze King and Woodstock. Locking in at low temps isn't always easy.

    If you are willing to spend $2,800 on a Defiant, you should look at the Woodstock Progress stove as it will offer longer burn times with minimal maintenance needs.
  3. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    Also, the Lopi Cape cod is gonna come in around the $3,000 range. This is a hybrid, but there is no need to remove the cat and it has all the Secondary burn tubes. It has a huge cat mounted above the baffle. This a very impressive stove. I install lots of different stoves and Vermont Castings is one of them. If you want a dependable stove with little maintenance, then I would keep looking. It might make a great stove for you, as it has for others, but it's not for everybody. Here is a Cape Cod I put in a while back.

    Attached Files:

  4. slindo

    slindo Member

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    Browning has pretty well said it all, but I might add one other con, that the company doesn't seem to give a damn about its customers, and has been gouging buyers of previous model, trouble-prone, stoves on replacement part prices. Time will tell whether the current models have fixed the problems of the earlier ones, but the company's treatment of the existing customer base does not bode well for the buyers of current models and has driven a lot of serious wood burners and former VC owners away from the brand.
    Joful and webby3650 like this.
  5. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    If you are just interested in 10-14 hour burns with a decent stove top temp then I bet BrowningBar will have another suggestion for ya after he gets a little more time in with his new stove. >>
  6. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    I agree with BBar.

    Having lived with VC stoves for 30 years or so I will second these comments. They do look beautiful; and when maintained and operated carefully they are good heaters. And the new 2in1 units are getting much better reviews than the last generation. However there are a lot of other options out there today that will give you similar or better results with less frustration.

    I inherited mine when I bought the house, and its cheaper to fix than replace. If I was buying new I'd look at other stoves.
  7. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Maybe not 10-14. But 10 is definitely an option with the big steel bastard.


    The frustrating thing with the Defiant is that it could be a top of the line stove. When it is locked in and operating right, I will have stove top temps at 500-550 degrees for 10 hours and then it slowly comes down over the last four hours. !4 hours later I could still be at 350.

    But, it's just not always possible. You can have the air shut down and all of a sudden it will climb up to 700+ degrees. I'll partially block off the primary which will bring it down, but even then, you have lost time from your burn. The control is sub-par.

    If ongoing cost of ownership was on par with other stoves, that is forgivable. But, when you are paying over 3 grand for a new Defiant with a shiny paint job, plus the ongoing costs and time for maintenance, why would you go in this direction?

    I'm completely happy with mine. But, my initial cost of ownership was $400. Getting a great heater with a lot of flaws for a couple of bucks will make you very forgiving of those flaws.
  8. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    There's an excellent thread on these stoves, in which one owner (NinoVitale) really goes into some good details: http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/vermont-castings-encore-2-in-1.60640/

    Any theory as to why that's happening? I assume this must be a thermostatically controlled stove? Can't imagine that happening with manual air control.
  9. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    No theory as of yet. As we get colder my urge to fiddle with stoves decreases as loading frequency increases and I just want the stoves to do their job.
  10. tcraigscott

    tcraigscott New Member

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    Looks like unfortunatly many of the lopi products are not available in Canada.

    Such a hard decision with so many different stoves.

    Trying to decide between.

    VC encore
    T5
    Harman Oakwood
    Quadra fire Isle Royal
    Jotal Tl50

    Tough call, I definitely want to get good burn times for overnight. Want a nice looking stove (going to be in the main living area) and was something that is going to give me little trouble.
  11. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    No reports available. It is a brand new model. It is a 3 cu ft firebox, so you should be able to get 10 hours of usable heat from it. If the cat system is worth a damn, it should offer 12+ hours. But we have no idea how well the cat system works. Does it just act as a secondary cleaner after the burn tubes, or can you actually dampen down the temps like a traditional cat stove and get the long and low burns. No idea at this point.
  12. charger4406

    charger4406 Burning Hunk

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    I live in quebec and i ordered my cape cod on monday,Lopi website
    is misleading because i also thought it was only available in the states,
    my dealer has installed 2 other cape cods this year.
  13. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Is the Cape Cod replacing the Defiant?
  14. charger4406

    charger4406 Burning Hunk

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    Yes,I sold the defiant to my brother who really likes it.
    I wanted to try the Lopi and when he asked if he could
    have it I jumped at the chance.
  15. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    What issues did you have with the new Defiant?
  16. charger4406

    charger4406 Burning Hunk

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    None really, temps held steady with long burns and it is a beautiful
    stove but my wife did not like the top loading or the frond doors:rolleyes:
    You know what they say , happy wife,happy life;)
  17. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Smoke in the house? That's the only reason I can think of for not liking either of those.

    Well, good to hear that the stove functioned well for you. Many of us are really interested in how the Cape Cod performs. You should have a nice comparison as they are both about the same size and the VC cat system isn't the greatest. So, it will be interesting to see how the Cape Cod compares.
  18. charger4406

    charger4406 Burning Hunk

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    Had only 2 backpuffs that I know of,she was afraid of
    burning her arms when loading from the top,although
    It may have been the look of panic on my face when
    she drops 24 inches of oak against the back that made her
    nervous.;lol
    Can't wait to get my hands on the cape cod, I will
    report my findings after I break her in.
  19. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    I know that the Cape Cod has a huge cat! It's above the baffle and the tubes. It would be getting the left overs from the tubes, but I think that it could still be choked way down and use the cat to get long burns. I'm pretty sure it's the same cat that is used in the FPX 44 Elite, looks just like it anyway.
  20. slindo

    slindo Member

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    Hey! Just noticed that the 2-in-1 has become the FlexBurn. Or have they already superseded the 2-in1 with a new model? Seems odd either way, to change the name with no fanfare or explanation.
  21. Fire Breathing Dragon

    Fire Breathing Dragon Member

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    I have the new Encore, picked it up in Feb of this year so still a little green on burning with it. With that said, we have yet to turn our heat on so far this year and it is heating our 2,400 colonial home. We love the top load feature as there is no chance for the flaming logs to take a tumble out the door while loading. I would buy another if I needed to, she is treating us great so far and burns little wood for the heat return. Good luck shopping, you are doing the right thing by asking around, we bought ours at the local Ace Hardware and the folks there (especially the owner) were very knowledgable and helpful with the purchase.
  22. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    I am pretty sure it was just a name change for marketing purposes.
  23. Machria

    Machria Minister of Fire

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    I was looking at the Cape Cod, nice looking unit. A local dealer had it burning when I was in to see it, he said they were only seeing 8 hour burns max, but they only had it running a few days so take it for what it's worth.
  24. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    I hope that isn't the case. That's a pretty poor burn for a 3 cu ft stove.
  25. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    Well, you know that the dealer is not gonna load the thing down with oak and run it on low. They want a beautiful, active fire that leaves the glass clean. That's what sells stoves to most people, so that's what they are going to do.

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